Lacoste For The Andover Shop, 1958

  In honor of Bastille Day, we revisit this post on France’s great contribution to the preppy-Ivy wardrobe. * * * One of the pleasures of spending time among archival material is the chance discovery. We recently came across an Izod Lacoste advertisement that was used in 1958 and 1959, placed by The Andover Shop. On

How The White-Shoe Law Firm Got Its Name

May is here and with it the season of white bucks, the Ivy wardrobe item that lent its name to the term “white shoe,” usually applied to a law or financial firm that hired WASPy guys from elite universities and catered to an Old Money clientele. In 1997, language expert William Safire wrote an essay

The Yale-Vassar Bike Race

The Yale-Vassar bike race found its origins in a drunken wager. At a meeting of Yale’s Trumbull Beer and Bike Society, one student declared he could beat another in a bicycle race all the way to Vassar. However, this valiant duel between two determined Trumbull residents quickly became a popular annual tradition in the early

Color of Conquest: Bruce Boyer’s Ode to Olive

Olive and khaki were enormously popular colors for Ivy-styled civilian clothing directly after WW II, through the Korean Conflict (fighting ended in 1953), and a decade beyond. We can only surmise that the wealth of well made but inexpensive military clothing on sale in Army & Navy stores throughout the country after 1945, as well

Miles Ago

This week I met with someone close to Charlie Davidson, the founder of The Andover Shop who died recently at the age of 93. While cleaning out his apartment, the person found some 15 printouts of my 2008 article for Ralph Lauren Magazine. And not stashed in the same place, but rather scattered all about

Double Date: Vassar Girls and their Beaus, 1951

A quick look back at this charming photo posted a decade ago, with dating customs that go even farther back. * * * London-based Ivy Style contributor Rebecca C. Tuite, currently at work on a book on the iconic Vassar Girl of the ’50s, posted this photo on her personal blog. The shot is from

Princeton vs. Yale, 1955

It’s kind of funny to think that standards of dress for a football game half a century ago were higher than for much of corporate America today. Several shots of the crowd reveal all the requisite gear: natural shoulders, buttondown collars, rep ties, short haircuts, and crewneck sweaters worn high in the front. — CC

Ivy Jukebox: White Bucks and Saddle Shoes

We’ve previously written on how the Ivy League Look was the perfect garb to gain approval from a girl’s father. Even though a boy had wolfish intentions, in white bucks and a crew cut he might convince her parents to let her stay out past 10. Now here’s a tune that makes the same case:

Boyfriend Jacket: The Vassar Girl and the Ivy League Look

When Marilyn Monroe steps onto the screen in “Some Like It Hot,” wearing elaborate furs and gowns, her soft blond curls swept into an elegant chignon, she spends much of her time pretending to be a wealthy, well-to-do Vassar student. She is a classic example of Hollywood’s vision of the Vassar Girl: the stereotypical rich,

Slim Down Your Overcoat

If you’re already planning on a new overcoat for this season, you might want to slim down. That is, with the cut of the coat. That’s according to this vintage advertisement from Hickey Freeman, which advocates “comfort and natural lines” with “lapels narrow to emphasize smartness.” Finally, “shoulders are normal,” because abnormal shoulders are so

The Bucks Stop Here

This weekend marks the end of summer, and therefore the end of white-bucks season Unless  you’re Pat Boone, who, like college men in the ’30s, wore his year-round. His above collection is from 1959. Go here for a CBS News slideshow on the clean cut idol, who in mid-life made a heavy metal album.

HSM Archives Finale: A Youthful Look of Slim Straightness

When I first moved to New York in late 2009 the Hartmarx Corporation gave me a couple of private views of their advertising archives. These are the last images I was able to grab. They date from the 1950s and document the trend in menswear to the natural-shouldered look. The final document has a nice breakdown

Engineered Garments: MIT’s Class of ’56

Students in science and technology today aren’t exactly known for their style (then again, what students are?) But in 1956, MIT’s graduating class of 900 was better dressed than just about any random group of 900 people you could find anywhere today. There are also some real characters in there. Perhaps you need the poster

HSM Archives: The Suit that Fits to a Tea

Previously we’ve posted on the 1956 prep-school angst film “Tea and Sympathy.” Here’s an image from the Hart, Schaffner & Marx archives, undated but from roughly the same time. Call this one Tea and Approval. The older gent is obviously the girl’s father, and clearly approves of her suitor’s suit. And here’s an interesting tribute

X Marx the Spot: The Treasure of the HSM Archives

As we make our way through the Ivy Style archives, I see that this post originally ran on my 40th birthday. Having just arrived in New York (that’s right, life really does begin again at 40), this was one of my first appointments. * * * Recently I was invited to Hickey Freeman on New

College Miscellany II

Some various images from the LIFE archives. First up are several shots from Bowdoin College in Maine. Above, 1952; below, 1957: No date on these three Bowdoin shots. The one below looks like a good starting point for a Ralph Lauren Home collection inspired by a ’50s college dorm room: Moving on, freshman class arriving at

Tea and Sympathy, 1956

“Tea and Sympathy” is one of the books on the reading list featured in “The Official Preppy Handbook.” Written by Robert Anderson for the stage, it was adapted for the screen in 1956 with Vincente Minnelli at the helm. “Tea and Sympathy” is set at a boys’ prep school, where sensitive Tom Lee (played by John Kerr)

Natural Style: Dartmouth in the ’40s & ’50s

A tour of Dartmouth College’s library in the 1950s, shown in the top video, sheds light on the school’s lifestyle and sartorial history. Male students seen hard at work wearing sweaters, flannels and thick trousers highlight two things: The lack of female students and a clear fashion sense unique to the college. Dartmouth did not